Karate world champion Jeanette McCrea knows a thing or two about determination and perseverance.
Having only taken up the sport two years ago, the mother of three from Beaumont Hills has had a swift rise to the top.
Training at Pollets Martial Arts Centre in Castle Hill, McCrea entered the International Sport Karate Association (ISKA) World Cup event last month.
She won gold in the Kata, which is traditional fight sequence, and Koshiki or sparring, as well as bronze in Sumo.
“As much as it is about how much you put in, it’s also about the environment that is created here at Pollets,” McCrea said.
“I think Grant [Miller] and Jess [Miller] create an environment that is so supportive. It allows for people to have determination, drive and perseverance. The environment allows students to keep trying and to want to do their best and achieve.
“There is no fear of anyone putting you down and it’s quite open to allowing you to be the best you can be.”
While this is an example of the highs, McCrea has also overcome some of life’s lows.
She was in a serious car accident 17 years ago when her car collided with a truck and was in a coma for three days.
She was wheelchair bound for six months and had to learn to walk again.
It took her six years to learn to walk without the aid of a walking stick.
“They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger,” McCrea said.
“It does take a lot of drive and determination to come back from a fight like that and that does carry over into how you do everything else in your life.
“It is something that changes your whole life – you have before and after the accident.
“You end up with a new way of doing everything. It’s good to be able to carry the determination that you had to have to be able to walk again over into something you can be so passionate about.”
McCrea has taken her passion all the way to a dual world championship but the biggest driver for her has been her children.
“My greatest miracle is not the karate championships, my greatest miracle was having children,” she said.
“I was told I would never be able to have them after the car accident, however, I have a beautiful daughter and and twin boys. So never say never.”
Her children have been a huge part of her success in karate.
Starting with one of her boys, who was encouraged to participate by a doctor, all of her children soon started in the sport.
Sitting and watching, McCrea wanted to be involved and started training alongside her children.
Her 10-year-old daughter Aleisha then encouraged her to start competing, turning the tables on Jeanette, who is passionate about encouraging others to try their best.
“I’m really proud of her because at first she didn’t want to compete,” Aleisha said.
“Then when everyone told her, she gave it a go and won two gold belts.”
McCrea said being able to train with her children in karate shows the magic of the sport.
“I’ve been involved in other individual sports and team sports previously but nothing is quite as holistic as this,” she said.
“The fact you can do it with you kids is quite amazing. Karate is not just about kicking and punching, it’s about having discipline, self control and learning when to walk away.
“It’s about carrying yourself with proper respect, dignity and having integrity.”